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OwlBytes: 2024 FAU Spring Practice April 4th - Quarterbacks and Notes

The fourth week of Spring Practice continued this Thursday afternoon with the quarterbacks (top photo) developing chemistry with the wide receivers by dropping dimes to them under offensive coordinator Charlie Frye's direction throughout the Owls' 10th session.

The team lost two quarterbacks who started last year in Casey Thompson and Daniel Richardson. Thompson sustained a season-ending injury after four games and decided to depart for Oklahoma, and Richardson took his place for the rest of the season but moved on to his next chapter at FAMU.

Below is a quick glance at the makeup of the position for the Spring.

Key Returners: Michael Johnson Jr. (R-Sr. 6-3, 210), Tyriq Starks (R-Jr. 6-2, 210), Luke Rucker (R-Fr. 6-4, 200), Carson Cruver (R-Fr. 6-3, 200)

Key Losses: Casey Thompson (Transferred to Oklahoma), Daniel Richardson (Transferred to FAMU)

Newcomers: Cam Fancher (R-Jr. 6-1, 195 - Transfer/Marshall)

Here is the ninth of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with three names from the quarterback unit, and some notes from today's media availability.

First In Command

  • Expected to Lead Cam Fancher: While it may be possible the Owls pursue another quarterback in the transfer portal, Fancher (pictured above) would be their leading option until then. He transfers from Marshall after three seasons, achieving career-highs in passing yards with 2,162 and touchdowns with 11. His top performance among the 10 games he took part in was against Arkansas State on November 25th, throwing for 214 yards and a hat trick of three touchdowns on 16 completions as he even rushed for 100 yards and a pair of scores. Having adapted well at FAU while showing his best strengths to his coaches, his excellent ability to throw the ball in sheer volume while showcasing mobility with the ball in his hands present him with the skillset to lead the Owls to success as a potential starter.

  • Expected to Lead 2.0 Michael Johnson Jr.: When the Owls enter the red zone and are in need of a touchdown, they can turn to Johnson Jr. for those special situations. Johnson Jr. had an inspiring comeback season in 2023 after injuries held him back in 2021 and 2022. He put his legs to excellent use as a red zone option, rushing the ball 23 times for 140 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games. He even had a touchdown streak of three games, starting on the road against Charlotte on October 27th and ending at home against East Carolina on November 11th. His athleticism and strength to run past opponents would probably continue to be used by head coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Charlie Frye when the time arrives for his number to be called up.

  • Keep An Eye On Tyriq Starks: Starks (pictured above) got his chance to lead the snap near the end of the 2023 campaign. In the Owls' season-finale against Rice, he completed five passes for a total of 35 yards to show his coaches what he can do. He displayed a great throwing arm in that game, firing quick passes to his receivers while showing he can drop dimes at a solid rate. He even caught the attention of head coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Charlie Frye throughout spring camp, with Herman noting that Starks has stayed true to his development and is progressing as a player at the position. With the departures of two quarterbacks who were above him in the depth chart last season, it opens up an opportunity for Starks to provide a strong case for his running for the starting job.

  • Dark Horse Candidate Luke Rucker: He may be on the outside looking in when it comes to being a starter for the Owls, but  strong arm that grants him the ability to throw long balls at a consistent level is worth looking at. Rucker didn't appear in any games last year, watching the team from the sidelines as he adapted himself within the program. Now with a full year under his belt, it appears that he has gotten more comfortable in the system Tom Herman and Charlie Frye have implemented for the offense. Being the tallest quarterback among the group, he can see more of the field and pinpoint receivers he can throw the ball to on a more consistent basis. His inexperience would prevent him from being seen as a top candidate, but a solid performance throughout spring camp can possibly turn plenty of eyes his way with the amount of potential he emanates with his talent.

OwlBytes for April 4th

  • Not A Fluke Finally getting the chance to shine throughout the course of a regular season with FAU, quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. (pictured above) wants to make sure the performances he had in 2023 wasn't a fluke. "I can't come in next year and just do nothing. That's what drives me in my work ethic everyday, to make sure this upcoming year is better than the past so I can have a year to be proud of," Johnson Jr. said.

  • From Seminoles to Owls When Daughtry Richardson asked CJ Campbell about his official visit to FAU this past offseason, Campbell told him that he was going to commit. That told everything Richardson needed to know, following Campbell as they remain teammates after getting to experience an incredible undefeated regular season at Florida State. "Having CJ here is definitely a blessing because I'm not here by myself. I got somebody with me that's pushing me every single day and I'm pushing CJ every single day," Richardson said.

Video Play

Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni, quarterback Michael Johnson Jr., offensive lineman Daughtry Richardson, and defensive back Darius McClendon headline today's video play.

The team is off for the remainder of the week until they return to the practice fields Tuesday morning to begin the fifth and final week of spring camp.

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